Articles | Volume 12, issue 5
Ocean Sci., 12, 1105–1136, 2016

Special issue: COSYNA: integrating observations and modeling to understand...

Ocean Sci., 12, 1105–1136, 2016

Research article 07 Oct 2016

Research article | 07 Oct 2016

Ocean forecasting for the German Bight: from regional to coastal scales

Emil V. Stanev, Johannes Schulz-Stellenfleth, Joanna Staneva, Sebastian Grayek, Sebastian Grashorn, Arno Behrens, Wolfgang Koch, and Johannes Pein Emil V. Stanev et al.
  • Institute of Coastal Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Geesthacht, 21502, Germany

Abstract. This paper describes recent developments based on advances in coastal ocean forecasting in the fields of numerical modeling, data assimilation, and observational array design, exemplified by the Coastal Observing System for the North and Arctic Seas (COSYNA). The region of interest is the North and Baltic seas, and most of the coastal examples are for the German Bight. Several pre-operational applications are presented to demonstrate the outcome of using the best available science in coastal ocean predictions. The applications address the nonlinear behavior of the coastal ocean, which for the studied region is manifested by the tidal distortion and generation of shallow-water tides. Led by the motivation to maximize the benefits of the observations, this study focuses on the integration of observations and modeling using advanced statistical methods. Coastal and regional ocean forecasting systems do not operate in isolation but are linked, either weakly by using forcing data or interactively using two-way nesting or unstructured-grid models. Therefore, the problems of downscaling and upscaling are addressed, along with a discussion of the potential influence of the information from coastal observatories or coastal forecasting systems on the regional models. One example of coupling coarse-resolution regional models with a fine-resolution model interface in the area of straits connecting the North and Baltic seas using a two-way nesting method is presented. Illustrations from the assimilation of remote sensing, in situ and high-frequency (HF) radar data, the prediction of wind waves and storm surges, and possible applications to search and rescue operations are also presented. Concepts for seamless approaches to link coastal and regional forecasting systems are exemplified by the application of an unstructured-grid model for the Ems Estuary.

Short summary
This paper describes coastal ocean forecasting practices exemplified for the North Sea and Baltic Sea. It identifies new challenges, most of which are associated with the nonlinear behavior of coastal oceans. It describes the assimilation of remote sensing, in situ and HF radar data, prediction of wind waves and storm surges, as well as applications to search and rescue operations. Seamless applications to coastal and estuarine modeling are also presented.